In a recent decision, the California Supreme Court refused to overturn an arbitrator’s award, despite finding the award was incorrect.  Specifically, the Court held that an arbitrator should have considered evidence of a rejected section 998 settlement offer and changed its cost award, even after issuing a final arbitration decision.  However, the Supreme Court determined a trial court does not have authority to correct this error. The ruling emphasized the broad scope of an arbitrator’s powers and narrow scope of judicial review when the parties choose arbitration. 
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The Supreme Court once again has shown its strong preference for enforcing the terms of arbitration agreements as written by the parties.  In Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer & White Sales Inc., Justice Kavanaugh’s first written opinion, the Court held that when an arbitration agreement delegates the threshold question of arbitrability to an arbitrator, the arbitrator, not a court, should decide the question, even if it is clear to a court that the dispute is not covered by the arbitration agreement. 
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The California Supreme Court has ruled that California employers cannot rely on the federal de minimis doctrine to avoid claims for unpaid wages on small amounts of time.   Under the de minimis doctrine, employers may be excused from paying workers for small amounts of otherwise compensable time if the work is irregular and administratively difficult to record.  Federal Courts have frequently found that daily periods of approximately 10 minutes are de minimis even though otherwise compensable.
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The California Supreme Court has adopted a new three-part test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under California’s wage orders, which regulate wages, hours, and working conditions.  The highly anticipated ruling could have wide ranging effects for businesses operating in California and beyond, as companies try to navigate the new gig economy. 
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On March 1, 2016, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) sued employers for the first time for sexual orientation discrimination. The EEOC filed lawsuits in federal courts in Pittsburgh and Baltimore against manufacturing and health care employers for unlawful sex discrimination on behalf of employees alleging they were harassed and discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.
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The Ninth Circuit ruled on Monday, September 28, that California Private Attorney General Act claims cannot be waived in employment arbitration agreements, following the rule announced by the California Supreme Court in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014).
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